Phillies Heating Up

The Philadelphia Phillies offense is beginning to heat up. That could be bad news for a Chicago Cubs pitching staff which is suddenly struggling.

The Phillies look to win their third straight game when they continue their weekend series against the Cubs on Saturday.

Oddsmakers have made Philadelphia -130 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 9.5 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 63% of bets for this game have been placed on Philadelphia -130 (View MLB Bet Percentages).


Philadelphia (16-19) defeated Chicago 7-2 in Friday's series opener. The Phillies have scored 16 runs to win their last two games after a 1-4 stretch.

Left fielder Pat Burrell entered Friday with only one homer and 11 RBIs in 97 at-bats this season, but matched career highs with two home runs and five RBIs.

"I feel I've been swinging the bat all right. I just had been hitting it right at guys,'' said Burrell, who had been 2-for-36 (.056) in his previous 13 games.

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley went 1-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs on Friday, and is 9-for-27 (.333) with three home runs and six RBIs in his last eight games against the Cubs (16-17).

After allowing an average of 2.8 runs during a 9-2 stretch, the Cubs have given up 13 runs to lose their last two games.

"In a small park like this, you put people on and they can do some damage and they did,'' manager Lou Piniella said.

Angel Guzman (0-0, 2.19 ERA) tries to turn things around for Chicago when he makes his second start of the season Saturday.

After being recalled from Triple-A Iowa before last Sunday's game, Guzman allowed just one run and two hits over five innings of a 4-3 victory over Washington, but did not factor in the decision.

The right-hander faced the Phillies twice last season without receiving a decision. In his only start against them, on Aug. 23 at Citizens Bank Park, he gave up one run and four hits while striking out eight in six innings of a 2-1 Cubs loss.

Philadelphia counters with Freddy Garcia (1-2, 5.33), who looks to build off his best outing of the season against a team he has dominated in his career.

Garcia, who started the season on the disabled list with right biceps tendinitis, was shaky in his first four starts of the season.

However, on Monday - one day after hurting his left leg when running into a cart during batting practice in San Francisco - Garcia allowed two runs and five hits in a season-high six innings of a 4-3 loss to Arizona. He did not factor in the decision.

"It was one more inning," the right-hander told the team's official Web site. "I lasted a little longer, and I didn't walk anybody. It was an improvement."

Garcia has won all four of his career starts over the Cubs, posting a 0.60 ERA in those games. He has allowed just two earned runs in 30 innings, holding Chicago to a .196 batting average.

Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano homered and doubled Friday to extend his career-best hitting streak to 19 games. He is 4-for-18 (.222) in his career against Garcia.

by: Dave Michaels - – Email Us

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